Houston, Tx 77006
(713) 965 3597
November 2010- Her hair was short, stringy, full of color and lots of layer to flaunt what seemed to be a perfect bone structure with pale glowing skin. She wore a revealing low-cut top to compliment her busty features, along with short H & M shorts that showed off her slender long legs that went on for days, and topped it off with what looked like an old vintage fedora. She strutted in thick black pumps with another inch of platform on the bottom that added height to a girl that was already seemingly 5’7 and wore midnight black eyeliner to draw attention to her olive green eyes. She smelled of cigarettes and herbal incents, carrying around with her a purse, a book, and a Nikon DSLR snapping photographs of everything around her that somehow caught her attention, which was pretty much almost everything. As I watched this girl, I not only noticed her unique appearance, but took a high interest in what she was doing and where she was. As I sat in Café Brazil on the corner of Montrose and Westeimer, I just couldn’t help but notice her flamboyant features and high enthusiasm for her surroundings. I guess you could find a person like her in a random coffee shop, at an art gallery, or maybe even at your nearest Barnes & Noble, but it seems like this street in particular brings her to life. I myself know exactly how she feels.
Growing up in downtown Houston I’ve always been in love with the inner city. My all time favorite place in all of Houston is Montrose! Everything from the grungy music, to the different restaurants, to the unique shopping, the exciting people, to the dirty tattoo parlors on every corner… it all makes up one of the most unique alive spots in Houston. Known for its negative reputation of homosexuality, drugs, sex, and alcohol, most people would be highly discouraged by the thought of going and spending a day there. But given a chance, one would find it to be a beautiful, lively place with full of depth and culture, you can’t experience elsewhere in Houston. Montrose is one of those places where no matter who you’re with or what you’re doing, you’ll learn something new and see something different every time you’re there.
When I was younger, I remember I spent my Sundays with my grandparents antique shopping on Montrose in all of those old boutiques with vintage furniture pieces, and I would always help them pick out something different that no one else had but them. We’d always find the coolest things, such as I faintly remember this one piece, it was an original record player that just looked like one of those things you saw in the movies in that specific time period that had been thrown into our modern era. My grandparents had many trinkets of that sort scattered all over their home, out for guests to see. One Sunday, we were out on a hot sunny day, walking, eating ice cream, and shopping for more antiques when all of a sudden we stopped at one particular store, Texas Junk Co., we noticed we had never been in before. I remember walking in searching for something different, and beautiful that I could find to show to them, when I saw it. This old, wooden, dusty, ancient children’s desk that I fit into perfectly… so perfect that my grandparents knew in an instant that, that desk was made just for me. So that day, they didn’t buy anything for themselves, they bought something for me. And to this day, I still have the desk! Even though, it doesn’t fit it means so much to me, and will always mean so much to me because it was one of the best gifts they ever gave me in that unique little antique shop that Sunday.
Montrose isn’t just another street in Houston with stores, restaurants, and bars… it offers artistic value, musical influence, and creativity to our city that we don’t appreciate. You will never find yourself bored spending a day wondering down Montrose blvd because there’s always something going on. If it’s not a music festival, such as; Westeimer Block Party, Music Mayhem, or Indie Acoustics, then maybe there’s a new art exhibit that just opened, or an event at a local photography gallery! Montrose is also a great location for one to be involved in the Houston art scene, since Montrose isn’t all that far from our Museum District with plenty of inspiring eye opening exhibits and performances to show off creativity that so many of our locals are a part of. There’s always something and it’s just so awesome to be able to have that kind of access to so many different activities that keep people away from doing other negative things and staying productive.
Though Montrose has it’s darkness with all of the poverty, drugs, sex, and alcohol abuse, it shows how truly hard life can be and how ugly it can really get. I know every time I’m there, I’m reminded by the broken beer bottles on the sidewalks, smell of pot in the air, and the sounds of homeless begging for money. I see the same man on the same corner every afternoon when I go to pick my little sister up from school. He’s tall, shockingly thin, looks as though he hasn’t bathed in weeks, and always has the same outfit on as the day before. He has dark, kind eyes that when you look close enough, tell a story. Kind of makes you wonder, “What happened to him? Where’s his family? Did he have a choice?” It may not be beautiful, but its reality and some people don’t like seeing those things out in the open so instead of facing them, they choose to stay away from it and go places where they won’t see it. Montrose exposes a majority of homelessness and drug abuse probably more than most places in Houston, but also has drug and alcohol rehabitations near to help those in need of enlightenment and mental care. The community does what it can to help those in need and isn’t prejudice towards homosexuality. If you drive past the main street of Montrose on Westeimer, stop and take the time to notice that outside of most of the stores, coffee shops, restaurants, bars/clubs, and other places will have the gay peace flag hanging outside of their business or somewhere nearby. I admire the freeness and feeling of acceptance whenever I’m there, and I love seeing it out in the open of our big city of Houston Texas, because it breaks a southern conservative stereotype that we have along with other southern states in the US. Being different is a gift and separates people from others because if every one person was alike, there’d be no existence of art, music, dancing, or any creativity that you’ll see on Montrose that is most appreciated and flaunted.
Spending one Saturday night on Montrose is unlike any other place you’d find yourself in Houston because Saturday nights is when all the adult fun begins. Just walking up and down the block you see things, you wouldn’t find yourself seeing elsewhere. With loud music blaring out of coffee shops, streaming lights, people dressed up laughing and smoking their cigarettes, you get an idea of what the night’s going to be like. Even if it’s just dinner at Brazils or coffee at Katzy’z, you’ll find yourself having a good time. Montrose offers so many choices of cuisine, if you love Mediterranean there’s Aladins, if you love Greek there’s Niko Niko’s, and if u even like vegetarian there’s Mangos. Numbers nightclub has been around for years, way back when my father was in high school, and he just turned 48 years young this month in September, and even he says back then it was a fun lively place to be. Including a bar, live music some nights, different events on weekends, DJ’s who play dancing music from the 80’s, and an outdoor patio and more, who wouldn’t want to spend a Saturday night there hanging out with friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, or whoever?!?! In the end I guess one would say it’s all about having an open mind, and I strongly agree! But one should always have an open mind, with meeting new people, trying new foods, and visiting new places. Open your mind to Montrose and you’ll get a taste of what that feels like.
Montrose offers so much to our wonderful expanding city of Houston, & we don’t understand what it really does for us as people and a community. It’s a place to go have fun, wind down, drink wine, drink coffee, dance, listen to music, play music,… everything! The options are endless. It’s a place to be free, meet new people, and spend time with old friends. Take a day to explore the different art exhibits, restaurants, cafes, and book shops, and I guarantee it’ll be unlike any other street you’ve ever spent your time in Houston.
Bianca Diaz is currently a full-time student at the University of Houston Downtown. She is planning on majoring in marketing & business, but still isn’t sure what field she’ll be focused on specifically. She recently graduated from the High School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice with hopes of becoming a family lawyer, but changed her mind along the way. Growing up in the inner city her whole life, Bianca has always loved Downtown Houston. Although she spent most of her life growing up in the city, she’s a country girl at heart. She loves spending most of her free time fishing, four-wheeling, and camping out in her family’s ranch in Waller County. Throughout her high school career, Bianca was involved in her school’s photography club & theatre department. After graduating, Bianca got hired as a sales associate for one of her favorite Boutiques in the Rice Village Shopping Center, Mint. Now currently unemployed, she’s chosen to make school her number one priority.
Bianca Diaz is a fun, loving, free spirit who loves living in the moment & is excited to continue her journey through life taking each day as it comes.